Beer glasses aren’t made to just look cool, most have a purpose to them, and a designated style of beer to go along with them. Lets take a look at some common beer glass designs and what they do for you and your beer.
The Pint glass – Near cylindrical, with a slight taper and wide-mouth. There are two standard sizes, the 16oz. (US Tumbler – the pour man’s pint glass and most common) or the 20oz Imperial (Nonic), which has a slight ridge towards the top, a grip of sorts and helps in stacking them. The 20oz version is preferred to accommodate more beer or beers with large crowning heads. A Becker is the German equivalent, tapering at the top. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are American adjunct lagers, Light lagers, English brown ale, Pilsner, English milds, Stouts, Porters, Witbier. Anything really, this is just your generic beer glass.
The Goblet or Chalice – Beautiful pieces of art, ranging from delicate and long stemmed (Goblet) to heavy and thick walled (Chalice). The more delicate ones may also have their rims laced with silver or gold. Some are designed to maintain a 2-centimeter head, which is achieved by scoring the bottom inside of the glass, which creates a CO2 nucleation point and a stream of eternal bubbles resulting in a perfect head retention. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Belgian IPA, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Berliner Weissbier, Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel (Quad).
Mug (Seidel, or Stein) – Heavy, sturdy, large and with a handle, the mug is a fun and serious piece of glassware that comes in many sizes and shapes. The best part of using a mug is that you can clink them together with more confidence than other types of glassware, and they hold tons of beer. Seidel is a German mug, while a Stein is the stone equivalent that traditionally features a lid, the use of which dates back to the Black Plague to prevent flies from dropping in. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Amber ale, Red ale, Porter, Munich Helles lager, English bitter, Vienna lager, Rauchbier, and Märzen.
The weizen glass – Made with thin walls, and a lot of length to showcase the color of wheat beers. The design also locks in the style’s signature banana and clove aromas and provides proper space for a thick, fluffy head. They are sometimes confused with Pilsner glasses, but there are important differences. A Weizen glass typically holds a one fifth of a liter of beer (compared to a pilsner’s 12oz to 14oz), and it boasts some attractive curvature. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Wheat ales, Dunkelweizen, Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, and Weizenbock.
Tulip or Thistle – Designed to trap and maintain the head of the beer, the tulip glass helps enhance the flavor and aromatics of hoppy and malty brews. Much like goblets and snifters, these types of beer glasses have a small stem and footer with a unique, tulip-like bowl on top. The top rim curves outward, forming a lip that helps capture the foamy head. The thistle glass resembles a stretched-out version of the tulip. It has the same stumpy stem, with a bulb-like bowl, but it’s slightly taller and has less curves around the lip. The thistle glass is typically reserved and designed for Scottish Ales, as the “Thistle” is Scotland’s official flower. Much like the snifter, the tulip glass is commonly used for stronger brews, such as Double IPAs, Belgian ales and barleywines. The bulb-like bowl allows you to generously swirl around your beer like an oenophile swirling their wine, releasing the full aromas. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Imperial IPAs, American Wild Ale, Belgian Dark Ale, Bière de Garde, Sours, Saisons, Scotch Ales.
Pilsner glass – Tall, slim, and slightly wider at the mouth, a pilsner glass makes visible the clarity, and sparkling effervesces of pilsners and other lighter beers. At the same time, it helps capture a beer’s head, which keeps volatile aromatics locked under your nose. Typically, pilsner glasses hold less beer than a pint glass–usually somewhere in the vicinity of 12oz to 14oz. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Czech and German Pilsners, California common, Vienna lager, Schwarzbier, Maibock, Hellesbock, and Munich Dunkel lager.
Teku glass – A favorite among beer geeks, this glass was designed by an Italian sensory expert and craft brewer. It features an 11.2oz or 14.2oz tulip-like bowl, a remarkably thin lip, and an elegant long stem that prevents your hands from transferring warmth to your beer. The Teku bills itself as your all-around go-to glass for all styles. That being said, the glass does a phenomenal job of concentrating aromatics and accentuating flavor profiles, so very strong beers such as Imperial Stouts, can be overpowering when served in one. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Lambics and other sours, Gruit, Fruit, Porters, and IPAs.
The Snifter glass – Used for brandy and cognac, these wide-bowled and stemmed glasses with their tapered mouths are perfect for capturing the aromas of stronger ales. Glass volume ranges, but they all provide room to swirl, and agitate volatile’s which help to bring out the full aroma of the beer. Despite how much it can hold, with this type of glass you probably don’t want to fill it all the way up to the rim, as it’s typically reserved for beers with strong flavors and aromas. If you fill it up to the rim it may prohibit you from enjoying the full experience this glass has to offer. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Imperial IPAs, Belgian IPAs, Stouts, Imperial Stouts, Quads, Barleywine, Lambics, Flanders red and oud bruin, and Eisbock.
Stange – Meaning “stick” in German, these traditional German glasses are tall, slender cylinders used to serve more delicate beers, amplifying malt and hop nuances, and preserving carbonation. Some beer styles to drink out of this glass are Kölsch, Bocks, Lambics, Gose, Czech pilsners, Rye beer, Altbier, Rauchbier, and Gueuze.
Champagne or Wine glass – If you have nothing available but have a couple of Champagne flutes, or oversized wine glasses in the cabinet those will work great as well. The Champagne flute, much like a Pilsner glass or a Stange glass, is long and narrow, and ensures that carbonation doesn’t dissipate too quickly and showcases a lively carbonation or sparkling color. Use this glass for lighter, more delicate styles of beer with high carbonation such as a Pilsner or Kölsch. A wine glass, similar to the Snifter, Teku, Tulip, or Chalice/Goblet, has a size that allows for great headspace, while the open bowl allows you to swirl creating an amazing nose. It will be most suitable for serving most Belgian Ales along with any other heavier style of beer with a lot of aromas and complexity, and softer carbonation and mouthfeel.